Thursday, 9 May 2013

no harmon on the giro

it's giro time and what little tv we watch is gravitating towards all things italian. for the last couple of years we've both found we can work away with the burble of cycling commentary going on in the background, t being esp found of the 'harmonism'.

so we'd noticed david harmon's lack of presence this last few races but the giro? surely not? bringing declan quigley on a sub is all very well but you need someone that can actually give some chat, esp on a dull stage, and so far quigley just isn't getting it. far too much repetition of what you can very well see for yourself and asides that sound like they're being read from wikipedia.

there are many who criticise harmon's commentary style from misidentifying riders, favouring english speaking riders and general witteriness. at least the first has some justification but harmon is far from alone in this - yesterday quigley, inexplicably couldn't recognise degenkolb at the finish, and the second, for me, while people may get tired of his banging on about sky - they're the dominant team! - doesn't really hold much water and at least harmon can actually speak the languages enough to translate at the end.

as for the witteriness - eurosport and no small number of cycling viewers seem to think that a bland description of what's going on onscreen is sufficient for cyling. this is to forget that, in contrast to most other tv sports, in cycling long periods nothing happens. harmon, whatever he's been about in the past, seems to have genuine enthusiasm for both the places he's in as well as the history of the sport. so he gets it wrong sometimes. so what? so he says some stuff the viewer may not agree with. a good cycling commentator should be challenging the audience, getting them talking.

i like listening to david harmon like i used to like listening to the cricket commentary when i was studying and sometimes he's just plain funny. him and sean yates have matured and engaged as a double act - certainly others can't get anything like as much out of yates who, let's face it, can be a bit taciturn at times. and while carlton kirby should never be used in anything but small doses some of the nonsense the pair of them come out with is pure entertainment - t's favourite being the stage where they were on about the gift of the cow.

commentary is a hard job that when it's done well is made to look easy. you need someone with a bit of personality otherwise it's just dull. david harmon may be many things but dull isn't one of them. eurosport would do well to consider this if there's some contract shenanigans going on. if he's off to pastures new i wish him well. cycling related tv rantery just won't be the same without him!

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